The Not So Famous Papaya

This post for me, is a work of art … ask me why …. ? I usually use imported fruits for my desserts, that are flown in to Ghana from Europe, … strawberries, blueberries, plums, peaches, pears … and even pay a bomb for them, buying them from these high end supermarkets, and not always sure if I’ll get some. So this time around i refused to wait and go for something from my local African market. I mean, anyone can do a lovely dessert from strawberries … but this time i wanted to go for something of the land. There wasn’t a great variety to choose from, but there was one particular fruit which caught my attention … the “Papaya”or better known here as ” Paw paw “. Not a fancy fruit, a rather common fruit actually, the kind that never really finds its way in beautiful desserts, besides ofcourse a fruit salad. So i took up the challenge of glorifying this fruit and bringing to it, its much deserved share of limelight. I thought of a couple of combinations, but settled for a moist fresh coconut tropical cake, with a papaya cheesecake frosting and topped with caramelized papayas. I promise you there is no cake like this out there !Its my own creation and I’m feeling very satisfied with the results, quite proud of it actually ! Have made 2 variations to share with you .

The Not So Famous Papaya
Macro Food 2008 620
For The Fresh Coconut Cake

The Not So Famous Papaya

215 gms flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
115 gms softened butter
225 gms caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp rum
100 gms yogurt
200 gms fresh coconut

Sift all the dry ingredients and together and keep aside.
Cream the butter and sugar and the eggs one by one , mixing continuously. Add in the wet ingredients, rum, vanilla and yogurt. Mix in the flour, beating it with an electric beater. For the fresh coconut , make sure you remove the brown skin and chop the flesh into small pieces and grind them in a dry grinder. You want to leave it slightly coarse, so it adds a bit of a texture to the cake. Mix it well into the cake bater and pour it into desired tins – cupcake cases. Bake at 180 C for 20 -35 mins depending on your tins … or until it gets a golden brown colour and knife comes out clean.

For The Papaya Cheesecake Frosting

The Not So Famous Papaya

250 gms whipping cream
150 gms cream cheese
1 tablespoon gelatin
4 tablespoon grated soft sweet papaya
few drops of lime juice
1 tablespoon of icing sugar

Soften the cream cheese and add sugar. In another bowl whip up the cream till soft peak stage. Soften the gelatin with 2-3 tablespoons of boiling water and add it to the cream cheese , and mix in the cream. At last add the papaya and lime, mix well, and leave in the fridge to set a bit. Then put in a piping bag and decorate your cake. U could stop at just this point and serve the cake. It already looks gorgeous, but if you want to take to a step further, slice the papaya and caramelize it with some granulated sugar and a blow torch. Further garnish it with fresh coconut shavings.


Macro Food 2008 604

The verdict … The cake is very moist and has a subtle coconut flavour, as compared to dry dessicated coconut. The fresh coconut really gives a great texture to the cake and adds crunch too. The small cupcakes look cute, and have more of coconut with just the papaya cream cheese frosting below the coconut shavings.

The Not So Famous Papaya

Whereas this cake is the one that gives the papaya its superstar status. Each bite is a pure pleasure, a beautiful coconut n rum sponge with papaya cream cheese, topped with sweet caramelized papayas. A perfect tropical cake to welcome the summer.

Macro Food 2008 572


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Comment : (Kate / Kajal)

liz , haha i never thought of that. but i’m sure even if Martha steals it , people will know … 🙂 or atleast i’m hoping.

Katy …woa… now thats far too wild for me 🙂 hehe but could try a savoury one like that ..! Hope u feel better though !

Nina, yeah sometimes we forget whats good and around us and look out for other things … ! Silly how humans are ! I really do hope u try it. I want response , i want to know what you think of it. (daphne)

How creative this is. I love papaya but didnt know it can be paired with coconut. Love that idea. (Homecooked)

The cakes look out of this world!! Really beautiful! (Helene)

What a great way to start my morning, with a cup of coffee, and read your post. Pictures are gorgeous. I would love to taste your dessert. (insane scribbler)

Saikat from BlogsJam here.
Wanted to email you, but could not locate your email address on the
blog. we have 2 cool widgets ( a slideshow widget and a content widget
) which can help enhance site interaction and reader’s experience. pl contact me at so that i can send you the slideshow widget for your blog.

thx-Saikat (Annemarie)

Kajal…! Both look wonderful, but the cupcakes in particular, with their froofy coconut swirl that the perfectly-matched flowers behind it, are a real work of art. You have every right to feel proud of yourself. 🙂 (Kate / Kajal)

Daphne , .. oh they taste lovely together.

Homecooked , thnx

Helene .. haha , i would love to share it with u 🙂

insane scribbler , thnx , will contact you soon .

Annemarie , thank you so much :D, i am !! (Larissa)

WOW, Kate…you are a magical chef, I swear. I grew up on papaya, but never thought it looked as delicious as this! (White On Rice Coupleh)

Beautiful ode to the papaya! It’s truly a magnificent fruit and you’ve given it’s humble being the recognition it deserves!
I grew up eating this stuff and always have it at least once a week but never have thought about using it in baked goods. You are the first and you just put papaya on the map!
These recipes and photographs need to go in to a museum for not just being the first, but the most beautiful! (Lael)

oh, I have such fond memories of eating papaya in hawaii! I’m back to blogging and so excited to catch up on your posts. This one looks delicious – I love tropical fruit and rum! (oh, and your pictures are beautiful as always) (Susan from Food Blogga)

You make papaya look magical. (Michelle)

Papayas and paw paws are actually different. Great pictures. (Linda)

i swear your photography gets better every time i come to your site! and so beautifully styled! i’m a miserable excuse for a food stylist. also, i adore your new profile image. probably the best way to describe my love for food too 😉 (eliza)

what a way to transform seemingly plain fruit to gorgeous desserts 🙂 i love papaya, especially if it’s just plainly cut and squirted with lime juice. good for the digestive system as well 🙂 (Kate / Kajal)

Larissa , even i grew up on papaya and thought how come theres no dessert/ cake with papaya.

WORC …yes its finally been glorified: D

Lael …nice to have u back.

Susan , thnx

Michelle …. i would beg to differ.

Linda …i think so too….just evolving with time 🙂 the SP is kinda cute but i’m already sick of it.

Eliza … oh yes , the fresh stuff is still the best. (LoveMichie)

There is alot of debate to whether paw paws and papayas are the same thing mostly because people use the word interchangeably.

However papaya’s tend to have an orangey or red flesh as opposed to the yellow flesh of the paw paw. They do however belong to the same species. (LoveMichie)

I thought it was interesting because I long thought that paw paws and papaya were the same thing.

I’ve never tasted yellow fleshed paw paw either. Does anyone know if they taste the same? (Kate / Kajal)

Michelle … i am not sure about what you are saying, but here in Africa , the orange variety is commonly available and this is what they call paw paw.They will not understand if u say papaya. and i can bet a million bucks that they are the same variety we get in India, the orange kind …and its called papaya. I guess its all papaya but just the name is different. It is the first time too that i am hearing thats its different, but yet i’ve again i’ve still not tasted the yellow variety so i cant say i’m entirely correct. 🙂 so maybe this yellow variety is fairly new , or just available in a very dew places, where they call papaya paw paw !…lol anyways … as long as they taste nice, i’m ok with it…. u may call it papalicious for all i care !!!! 😀 (LoveMichie)

Haha, I agree. Papaya tastes great! Papalicious is a good word for it 🙂 The only time I don’t like papaya is when they pick it while its still green to use in some dishes in Malaysia. Too sour. (Kate / Kajal)

i just had paw papaya salad last night at a thai restaurant … i’m ok with it , though too much of it is not good. (Oh for the love of food!)

This is indeed a work of art, Kate! I love the originality of the recipe and the photos are simply awesome! (Maryann)

Hi Kate!
Are these gorgeous photos or what? Very nice job, kiddo 🙂 (Kate / Kajal)

oh for the love of food …. thank u , thank u 😀

Maryann , thank you 😀 (Medena)

I am awarding you with the E award!!! Check out my post, click on the award to get the badge! 🙂 (Mike of Mike's Table)

I absolutely love papayas but rarely cook with them since I usually wind up just eating the whole thing pretty quickly. But both of your preparations look amazing! I’ll be keeping an eye out for nice papayas now–I have to try this! (Kate / Kajal)

Medena , thanks so much for the award, i’m really honoured.

Mike , i guess u can only really cook raw papayas , but the ripe ones are best used cold on desserts. (Gina)

Wow, I would break my diet for this! What a beautiful blog and I love your photography. Would you be interested in exchanging links? I would love to add you to my blogroll. I just started my blog a few weeks ago. (Kitchen Jini)

Hi Kate/Kajal,
I just discovered your blog – it is stunning. The photographs are spectacular. I really appreciate your take on papayas. I grew up in South Africa where papayas/paw paws are abundant. I miss the luscious sweet fruit now that I live in the US. Actually, when I lived back in SA I took these for granted and did not use them much, opting for strawberries. Now I seek out tropical fruit at exorbitant prices at the supermarket.I miss passion fruit the most.
Jini (Sophie)

I’m Sophie, Key Ingredient’s Chief Blogger. We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks 🙂


I love papaya. Being that I live in the U.S., the berries are so boring! I would take fresh ripe papayas anytime!

And love the photos, very artistic. 🙂

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